When an MRT ride can be something to show off

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After the Kajang-Sungai Buloh MRT line became fully operational, I saw Facebook pictures of families taking MRT rides to go on sight-seeing and food-hunting tours. They are all praises. Well, taking an MRT ride can be good for family bonding and as a weekend activity.

This time around, I take pride in Malaysia’s public transport system, even to the extent of showing off. Even my friend with an acidic tongue also gives it a thumps-up in his picture after taking a ride. I have excitedly messaged my foreign friends who are about to visit Malaysia and compiled pictures of all the favourite eateries along the route. I have advised them it is a must to take the ride and look at the scenery. For the first time, I have even made the MRT ride a tourist attraction and have been more enthusiastic in promoting MRT than the Twin Towers.

I can recall 15 years ago when I came to Kuala Lumpur for my tertiary education, I needed to travel on LRT and bus as where I stayed was quite a distance away. When there were obstructions or traffic jams, it was more of a feeling of frustration than gratefulness in regard to the public transport system.

Today, 15 years later, I have completely changed my perception of Kuala Lumpur’s public transport system. Credit must be given to the MRT which has enabled me to appreciate the beauty of Kuala Lumpur city.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai pointed out that the MRT was one of the measures taken by the Government to improve the usage of public transport. He pledged that the rate of usage would hit 40% by 2030. The MRT has hit two million ridership since the first phase from Sungai Buloh to Semantan became operational in last December.

At present, the Kajang-Sungai Buloh MRT line are trains with four coaches each running with a total capacity of 1,200 passengers each way, making a total of 400,000 daily which is a big number. I noticed that in the past half a month, the traffic conditions on the motorways had improved during peak hours.

Besides passing by several major scenic points and 44 shopping malls, the MRT also takes us to areas around its 31 stations, allowing us to discover the many hidden eateries and scenic places. Via the MRT, we are able to reach the other end of the city which we are not so familiar, and appreciate the beauty of the city.

My friends who stay in Kajang used to spend one and a half hours to go to their office in Kuala Lumpur. The traffic jams have caused so much frustration that they would never go to Kuala Lumpur on weekends. Now they would take their wives and children on the MRT to Kuala Lumpur on weekends to enjoy the food and also take their children to areas next to daddy’s office for the roadside snacks.

I notice that the MRT does not only provide convenience but also enhances our happiness index. We don’t need to drive and face traffic jams as well as paying the high parking fees. It is more convenient and environmental friendly.

The success of public transport is measured by the level of its usage and satisfaction. The bottom line is whether it has brought about real convenience to the users. Since the opening of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line, most people have rated it highly. Although there is room for improvement, people are satisfied generally.

Liow Tiong Lai has also revealed that he would talk to Malayan Railways and Prasarana Malaysia Bhd to speed up the integration of existing public transport systems in Kuala Lumpur. I sincerely hope our perfect public transport system would be something we can be proud of and that it would be the most popular means of transport for our people.